Speaker 1: You're listening to the Miles to Go podcast the go-to source for travel tips news, and reviews you can't afford to miss. Now here's your host, travel expert Ed Pizza.
Ed Pizza: Hey guys, welcome back to the Miles to Go podcast. We've got two guests today talking about things that you can be doing right now to make your future travel better. One is focused on small business owners while the other is applicable to everyone looking to book a great trip when you're ready to travel, whether that's tomorrow or like me, a lot of tomorrows from now. We'll be talking about the new service that I'm signing up for which we'll send you great trips you can book to far away places around the world using points and miles that are actually available. And I'm giving away a free one-year subscription to one lucky listener for that. So stay tuned for that in just a bit. But first this week is a product geared towards small business owners. I've heard about Brex in the past but it was never really a fit for me in our businesses.
It seems as though some reason changes it's a lot closer to a good fit for like a typical small business owner. Before we dive into that, I need just 60 seconds of your time. If you haven't left us a rating and a review, there's a link in the show notes that makes it super easy to do so. And we love that. Those ratings and reviews help us out big time when it comes to attracting new listeners. And as you're settling in for this week's show, I'd really love it if you told a friend about Miles to Go. Word of mouth is absolutely the best way for us to grow our audience. As always, if you have questions, you can email me, firstname.lastname@example.org and you can find me on all those social media places @pizzainmotion. All right. With all that. Let's welcome back Tiffany Funk to the show from One Mile at a Time.
Tiffany, you guys have been writing about Brex over the past few weeks. What the heck is a Brex and why should I be paying attention?
Tiffany Funk: Yeah. So we've been writing about Brex for the past couple of weeks a lot because we have, yeah, there's a really great offer right now on a product, which is always exciting. And I think fun for people to talk about, but what's different is as you mentioned, Brex has been around for a while and their core focus, as they were starting out was basically being like a startup for startups. And their backstory is that they had some tech founders and they came to the U.S. and they had a great tech company. They were well-funded, they were in Y Combinator. They were doing all the things and they couldn't get a business credit card because they didn't have a personal credit history in the United States.
So after their exit from that business, they thought, you know what, there's probably a lot of people who are in this circumstance. And there's not really a vehicle for businesses to be able to participate really in credit at all without leveraging the owner's personal credit score. So came up with their original concept of Brex, which was very much geared towards startups and we've talked about our One Mile at a Time in the past because they immediately had a rewards program tied to their credit card and you can transfer those points to airline miles. So that's obviously, right in our lane, but it was pretty limited because in order to get approved for a Brex card, you basically had to be a, not just seated but a startup that had your series A. And you had, or had a term sheet in progress, or you were in one of these big startup incubators. And it was a very manual review process to get this approval but then there were tons of great parts.
And so like, if that was your kind of business, it was a really good product to have. And they've expanded it recently to where they have this Brex cash, which is what we've been writing about, because it is more applicable to a wide range of businesses. You don't have to be a tech startup, you can be any kind of business. You can be a travel business like we are, or a brick and mortar business, anything, really. And it's basically a cash management account. Like your business checking account but it's technically not a checking account for regulatory reasons. I think mostly is the reason people are like, so how is this not a checking account? I don't know like I'm paying bills out of it, there's ACH transfers, I'm doing wires for free. It feels a lot like a checking account but I guess there's no checks. So it's technically not a checking account because everything's electronic.
Ed Pizza: I never thought about that. You're right, because I guess there aren't checks.
Tiffany Funk: Right. inaudible.
Ed Pizza: But it is FDIC-insured, which I found interesting.
Tiffany Funk: Yeah. It is. And they have a couple of different ways. I mean, they have some things that make it more complicated of a product for people who are interested in it. So rather than just having your funds internet count and like, I don't think that there's really any business checking account that is lucrative for accruing interest really, especially in this environment. But they do have some options to where, if that's something where you typically have a lot of cash on hand for your business and it just sits, like you can invest it in some money market funds that they have and like, then those have different rules obviously than just the FDIC-insured stuff. So there's some rabbit holes there that people can get into, which I think is understandable given that they've got this history of like, we want to be offering financial services to businesses who can't typically have full access to the U.S. financial market. So I feel like we went off on a tangent there.
Ed Pizza: Well, that's the thing with Brex, you do go off on tangents because it doesn't really fit into your box. It's like, I mean, so to be clear, there are actually things here that fit into a box, which is why we're talking about it today, and we'll dig into these little buckets and just a second, but from a high level, there's a really awesome sign up bonus right now, which is very flexible sign up bonus for folks who are small business owners. And the reason why I keep referencing small business owners is if you don't have an LLC or an S-corp or anything of that nature, then you need to fast forward to the next segment, because this isn't like most business credit cards, which really aren't business credit cards, they're personal credit cards that happen afterward business stamped on the front of them.
This is something just for business owners. But along with that sign up bonus, you get two buckets. And I think both buckets are reasonably meaningful. One is I think, meaningful for more brick and mortar folks, and one is meaningful for a more techie company. So the bonus categories I think are good for brick and mortar and techie. And then the extra perks I think are much more geared towards tech companies. Like for example, your typical small business isn't necessarily going to have value for $5,000 in free Amazon web services charges, but tech companies love a benefit like that. So that's where it gets into, there are different buckets here but I think the reason why we're talking about I'm a small business owner look at things that we talk about on the podcast, or if I talk about my blog, I don't sign up for something for the sign up bonus. I only look at things that are products that I would, I don't want to say cards because Brex really isn't necessarily a card.
Tiffany Funk: It is a little bit more like, Hey, try this as an alternative to your business banking situation and see if it works for you. Is I think the right perspective to have for that versus the cardness of it. Although it does come with a card.
Ed Pizza: Ish. But so I do think the sign up bonus is great, but I also think like there are enough benefits here mixed in for folks who aren't tech businesses and we'll get into some of the card those bonuses that I think are worth that, but let's touch on the sign up bonus for just a second and then we can go through the next couple of pieces.
Tiffany Funk: Yeah. So the current sign up bonus that they're offering, and this is for the Brex cash, which comes with a Brex card but most businesses I think are going to want to apply for just the Brex cash which is basically it comes with a card but it's daily statements. It's not really like a debit card but works that way because, it's more like a charge card and you're paying your statement off every day. That's the one that most people listening are going to be interested in, unless you're a tech company with the term sheet. And then they're willing to float you for 30 days and longer statements and things like that given with their other restrictions. And then the bonus is you can get 80,000 points after you spend $1,000 on that linked Brex card, which those 80,000 points can be at a base level, just reading for cash back.
So you can get $800 cash back deposited right back into your Brex cash account, which works via ACH like any other standard banking account that you would have. And you can also transfer those points to airlines. So you can transfer them to eight different airlines, including Air France, KLM Flying Blue is a great program for a lot of business owners. Emirates is a great program given they don't have fuel storage charges on their awards anymore, or the ones that people think of more often like JetBlue. That's an option as well. So quite a few options there. You also have the option for gift cards but I wouldn't do that personally. Maybe you would. Maybe you use a lot more with gift cards for incentivizing employees and things like that but I would rather just have the cash and buy whatever I want versus redeeming for gift cards.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. And I also think too, I mean, I think if you're going to look at this offer, you're looking at it because of the travel, because sure, while you could get that really nice sign up bonus back just as cash or gift cards, as you mentioned, the airline partners, I think are what's really the reason to be talking about this year for a small business owner. And as you mentioned, I think you hit on two of the three partners that were most appealing to me here. And it's not that something like Emirates isn't appealing, I think most of the folks that listen here that are small business owners or folks who view aspirational travel as a family vacation to Europe, not necessarily a 72 hour job to Dubai, followed by a 72 hour job to Australia.
Tiffany Funk: In fact, you can do JFK Malone or that's a great option with Emirates.
Ed Pizza: You can. You absolutely can. I do think Air France–KLM though has a lot of availability from different the inaudible to-
Tiffany Funk: Yeah. That's the best option if you're taking a family to Europe because-
Ed Pizza: Yeah. I agree.
Tiffany Funk: They have the seats.
Ed Pizza: Exactly. They are plenty.
Tiffany Funk: inaudible but they have the seats, so.
Ed Pizza: They do. Yeah. And I think JetBlue is another reasonable opportunity for folks who, I mean, again, not a huge network in the U.S. but certainly if you're in the Northeast, they've got a really strong network at a Boston, New York. And then some stuff out of Florida and they're trying to make a presence for themselves out of Los Angeles now. So-
Tiffany Funk: Well, and even for here, it's a reasonable option at a Seattle for those Transcon flights too. So-
Ed Pizza: Yeah. Good point.
Tiffany Funk: It's not like three years ago where, unless you were in Long Beach, there was no point in worrying about JetBlue on the West Coast.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. And look, they are the partners, not that they're not valuable but I think like Air France–KLM is a solid program, have access to, for folks who are looking to get to Europe for vacation. And so that's where I think taking cash back is certainly a floor on this. You can certainly take the cash back and know that you're going to get the in inaudible. The offer goes all the way up to 110,000 bonus points for a couple of other things that you can do involving paying payroll through Brex. And some of the things that may be easy or hard for the type of business that you have.
Tiffany Funk: Right. If you're running business sales through Square or Stripe or PayPal or something like that, that's an easy, extra batch of points. Those types of things but not all businesses do that. So if you're not doing that, that'll be a little harder for you to get those points. But then the 20,000 points for spending an extra $3,000 in three months, I feel like most businesses can probably do that. It's just an accounting massaging to make sure things are coming out of the right account or going onto the right accounts.
Ed Pizza: For sure. Now, on the bonus category side of things for ongoing spend, the categories that they're bousing on this is where I say some of these are geared more towards tech. Some of them are geared toward brick and mortar. Their biggest bonus category is rideshare. So your Uber's and your lifts. They have five points per dollar on Brex travel, which has traveled book through their portal. And I don't have any specific experience there, but I think for points per dollar on restaurants, dining is solid. And then again, depending on what type of business you have, three points per dollar on recurring software charges. So, as Tiffany alluded to, if you're doing this like Shopify stuff and then you've got, say like a QuickBooks account, and maybe you've got Zoom or Dropbox, those sorts of things. Those are things that you're probably not earning bonus points for the credit card you have those charges going to nap.
And if you do have those charges on a monthly basis now, I sure hope that they're going to a credit card and not a debit card. So you're running something for them. But I think for folks who have those. breakfast likely going to pay you a higher amount.
Tiffany Funk: Right. And I think a lot of businesses though aren't earning a lot of points on things like that, or they are putting things on debit cards, mean, you know how just, I mean, some people are either really conscientious about their cash and things like that, especially when it comes to like inventory and products. And I was talking with one lady and she runs a like a day spa and they've recently changed products that they have in terms of just like things that you can come in and pick up off the shelf and they're buying their inventory from Canada. And so the foreign transaction fees on her debit card that she'd been using with your bank has just been eating her alive. Like, "Oh, this is an easy switch. There's no foreign transaction fees. So I'm saving 3% now on my inventory. And yes, the three times on recurring software for my salon appointment management software, it's not a huge expense but that's a nice little bit of a bonus."
Ed Pizza: It is. And I think you brought up a good point about the ACHs and wires are also free but yeah, I mean, recurring software is something that isn't really part of the current suite of business credit cards are out there in terms of bonus category. Some a little bit, if they're clients they're qualified as like marketing or something like that, but for the most part, most businesses, if they're putting those on a credit card, they're probably earning one point per dollar on those transactions. So that's a plus here. And then when you move into the third bucket, these are the bonus categories where I mentioned the $5,000 in AWS, Amazon web services. Certainly that's not going to apply to a lot of the folks who are listening today, but for other folks, I mean, you've got bonuses spending with Apple.
You've got a discount on Slack, a product that quite frankly has changed my productivity pretty significantly over the past few years. Zoom, QuickBooks, Expensify, all products that I use now. So I pick up discounts on, call it half a dozen things I'm already using by having a fresh product. And those things add up to potentially another couple of hundred bucks a month in savings or points earning for me as a small business owner for things that are already best in Brex sort of things I want to use. As much as I hate Zoom calls, it's the product that I use on an ongoing basis. And I think on that one, it's a 20% discount on an annual subscription. I mean, a few of money.
Tiffany Funk: Right. I do think just to a small asterisk to put on that, just so that people aren't surprised later, there are three or four dozen of these partner offers where you get really significant discounts, but you need to look at them because some of them like for AWS and Slack, they're valid on existing accounts as well. And they work like annex offers do like, so for Slack, you get like $200 in statement credits basically. And it's just going to come off automatically, as long as you're paying with your Brex account, as long as you blink to the offers but others it's specifically, if you are trying this the first time, if you're trying to partner product, which is, I mean, some of these, like you might look at it and maybe big, Oh, I've actually been thinking about, I can't imagine a small business not having an accounting software but maybe you've been thinking of changing.
Ed Pizza: Well, you got to be on FreshBooks. And you're thinking about moving to QuickBooks. I mean, yeah. Sort of-
Tiffany Funk: Right. Those type of things, or it's like, okay, maybe I actually should be getting a paid Zoom plan because this 40 minute limit is driving me crazy. It's good to take advantage of those discounts in that way.
Ed Pizza: And let me just say for anybody listening to the call and I certainly won't reveal the company because I don't want to shame them on this, but yeah, on the page Zoom plan, let me tell you, at one of the things that we do for a living is we invest in startups and so had a recent pitch from a company that was raising millions of dollars. And so they were using a free Zoom account because for whatever reason, I don't know, they just decided they weren't going to pay for the paid one. And so, yeah-
Tiffany Funk: But is fine to raise money and they don't have any money yet. The free Zoom version should work just fine. If you can't pitch in 40 minutes, what are you doing?
Ed Pizza: Yeah. See, Okay. If they had a plan, it would have been fine except they had already raised some money, so they had cash and B, they got to 38 minutes and then realize that they were going to run out of time and they just wrapped up the presentation bit slides, stopped and said, "If you have questions, just email us," and then it's shut off.
Tiffany Funk: What?
Ed Pizza: Yeah. So, and not how to raise money for yourself, how not to raise money for your startup.
Tiffany Funk: Oh, I love that. That's terrible. And I love it.
Ed Pizza: Yeah.
Tiffany Funk: Poor inaudible.
Ed Pizza: So, we have one question mark, which if we get a firm answer to this all update in the final two pennies, but we don't have an end date on the sign up bonus right now. We think it's potentially soon though, right?
Tiffany Funk: Yeah. I mean, we originally started talking about this because we've had a bit of a relationship with Brex for the past few years, because of the audience that reads One Mile at a Time, it's not just one group of people. We've got a pretty broad range. And we talk about people who do finance in Bay area and things like that. They're reading the blog. And so, we had a lot of interests in that original breakfast for startups product. And so were getting ready to launch this cash product, you started having conversations about, Hey, how could we really make a splash with this and really get people to pay attention to it? And we said, well, we should do a really good offer and do it for at least 30 days. So it was at least 30 days but they've been so happy with it that I feel like they might want to extend it. But then also that the uptake has been much higher than they were expecting.
And so that's like an internal business decision that they're going to have to work out. I'm not really involved in that. So it's maybe ending soon or maybe it's going to go for a few weeks longer. I don't know.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. But suffice to say, since there's no credit pull on this. If you're sitting around there with a small business in an LLC and you don't sign up for it over the next handful of days when you're probably just making excuses for something that likely has enough upside to make it worthy your time.
Tiffany Funk: Right. And well, what some people like they don't... It's hassle, in some cases. And especially when you're talking about actual cash, because you have to move cash to be able to use the card. And so it's definitely not for everybody, but I do think it's a good option for people who are interested in trying different things and are willing to at a minimum, take some cash back or some points for checking a different banking option. I will also add, because I think that people have been wondering about this. If you have a business that doesn't have a large digital presence, maybe you aren't filing like quarterly payroll reports or you don't have a website or just those types of things that a computer crawler to go and look for to determine what's going on with this business, your application will take longer to be approved, and that's normal and you should not stress out about it. It just the way that it's set up.
Because again, and I just think we can't reiterate this enough. There's no personal credit poll. And so it's like, how else do they figure out what's going on with this business? So we've definitely had some people where, for One Mile at a Time, the application didn't go through immediately. It took it like six or seven days when we did this back in October and they knew ours was coming and it still took a few days, because we don't have any e-commerce. And that's the thing that they could look at. We have a little bit of it through points bros, but like it's not really at that same scale versus other people are getting approved instantly because there's more going on. And then there's some businesses like LLCs who do real estate and things like that.
There's very little of that, that's online to where they can look at it. And so Brex just say like, "Hey, can you send us like a certificate of good standing from your secretary of state or whoever regulates corporations in your state, so that we can just see that this is an actual business that's real." So I think those kinds of things are important for people to be aware of that, it's not going to necessarily be an instant approval.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. And this isn't Chase or American Express. And so the approval process does ride on different rails. I did it for one of our businesses and it was fairly straightforward for me, but I also haven't done the spending part yet, but I moved cash yet. So like I could certainly hit hurdles as I get to get through those. And I think it's also important to note that you do need the link from One Mile at a Time to qualify for the offer. And we will have that link in the show notes. I'm also going to link to a couple of stories that you guys have done that go through the ins and outs. And I think it's important to read through those because this is a different product. So to understand what all the benefits are, because I think that's where it makes sense, I'm a big proponent of if you're only signing up for the sign up bonus and you're a small business owner, it's probably not worth your time.
So I think it's like looking at all these other perks and seeing are there enough of them in these buckets to make it worth your while to give this a try. And for me that was an easy check perk, yes. For everybody it's worth evaluating because I think there's just a lot of different pieces here that weren't there before when I first looked at Brex.
Tiffany Funk: Right. And especially I think the big thing when we overall first looking at it. I mean, we were happy to write about it but it wasn't something that applied to our business either, because it was very niche and now it's broader. Yeah. I would say that it's the application process like you were saying has been a little... It's different than Chase or Amex, but it's like when the Sapphire reserve first launched and Chase wasn't prepared for the order of magnitude interests. And they literally ran out of metal for their cards. It was not a great customer service experience for anyone in those first few weeks. But like once the product is in hand and people are using it, if people seem to be happy.
And so in terms of your concern, like you haven't met spin or trying to get points. People who have are doing that, and they're getting their points. The 80,000 bonus points are posting every Tuesday. If you've met that spend in the previous week and the other the 10K and 20K additional bonuses post, as you complete those activities. That's pretty straightforward at least. And for your purchases, because your statements close every day, you get your points every day for your purchases.
Ed Pizza: Which I think is cool.
Tiffany Funk: Yeah. It is still satisfying. I had to buy a new iPhone last week and so it's like, you do that and you go, it's like, wow, I got my three times points on my iPhone and they've already posted.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. Before you even get the phone.
Tiffany Funk: Exactly. Literally before the phone arrived. I was like, okay, there we go.
Ed Pizza: Well, cool. Before we kick you out and move on to our next segment, tell folks where they can track you down when you're not hanging out with me.
Tiffany Funk: I prefer to be hanging out with you but you can find me anywhere on the internet at One Mile at a Time, or on Instagram, or Twitter @tebfunk.
Ed Pizza: Awesome. Tiffany, thanks a bunch for being on the show this week. Guys stay put, as we get into that giveaway and a new service that will make planning your next dream vacation a whole lot easier.
Back at Miles to Go podcast. And we are going to get to the giveaway, I teased earlier in the show in just a few minutes. Now I know I've heard from you guys in the past asking how I find some of the word flights for trips our family has taken over the years. I use a number of different tools, some of which we've covered on the show in the past and undoubtedly some that we're going to cover in the future. There really haven't been that many innovations in the space when it comes to making it easier to find a word availability. One of my favorite ways is a service that we've talked about on the show before from my friend Spencer, who runs straight to the points. He's had a newsletter for a while that showed you some really great award flight options and he's taken that a step further.
This is essentially, how to, for booking your next great trip. And he's joining us today to talk about the new service he launched. Hey, Spencer, welcome back to the show.
Spencer Howard: Hey, Ed. Great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, man. And we talked about doing this last month, unfortunately, life and COVID and all that other stuff got on the way but you're already launched. And quite frankly, I think as I said, as I was introducing you, a lot of tools that you and I have used over the years are not what I would necessarily call user-friendly. You really have to know where you're going. Like the internet before there were search engines.
Spencer Howard: They're nerd friendly.
Ed Pizza: They are nerd friendly. Yes. But what you've rolled out right now is way beyond that. This is what I would say, like next door neighbor friendly. And so the goal of the new paying service is to really lay out for folks exactly what it is they need to do to book an award almost from start to finish, right?
Spencer Howard: Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, my goal is to simplify the process for people who have wives to lead and jobs, and kids to take care of and just hobbies. So for me, it's just about taking someone who has the points and getting them on the plane as easily as possible, specifically in business or first class.
Ed Pizza: Exactly. So, we do like the pointy end of the plane and so there are two things I love about the new premium service. And we're going to get giveaway just a couple minutes, I promise. But from my standpoint I think, the thing that's really resonated with people that I encouraged to sign up for the newsletter was that you really go through and spell it all the details. So, first line is going to be, Hey, here are all the cities that this works from Dallas, JFK, San Francisco, and where you can go, what the various dates are that's available. But now, I mean, you're really drilling in the sample that you got on the site. I mean, you got five paragraph just on how to book it.
Spencer Howard: Yeah. The main goals for me are, I mean, I guess you could say it's three fold. Make sure people have the dates, so they don't have to spend, God knows how many hours searching, and then two, providing some insights into the best ways to use transferable bank points and airline miles to book and also avoid surcharges, and then finally, just a quick step-by-step how you need to search for AwardSpace depending on which program you're using. So just make this as super easy as possible.
Ed Pizza: I love that you didn't forget any of your three because that would have been embarrassing.
Spencer Howard: That would have been awful. But wouldn't put it past me.
Ed Pizza: Without naming names, I can think of a presidential debate and forgetting a cabinet post that wanted to get a little inaudible.
Spencer Howard: Oh, man. That's a good callback. That was a while ago. I like that.
Ed Pizza: So we're not going to do that. But one of the other things that from a technical standpoint, I will let folks know that podcasting is not as easy as it sounds. And so we did try to record this once before and one of the points that you brought up, which I think is so key for folks like me and a lot of the folks who listen to the show is that you also have a focus on multiple travelers. So for families, they're going to see multiple seats of premium inventory.
Spencer Howard: Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, I do a fair bit of solo travel as well, and that's not always easy but it's definitely easier than finding two, four, even six business class award seats. So I mean, that's really where it kind of, I think the whole thing started from over two and a half years ago now, which is just, I had so many emails from people who had families, like families they were traveling with, or just groups of friends. They couldn't find enough AwardSpace for everyone to be on the same flight. And that's where I was like, "Okay, this is where I can be helpful. So I'll go down that path." So yeah, I always send two, four plus seats availability for two to four or more.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. And I think where people get discouraged in using points and miles is that they're hunting and they find a one seat availability but they don't find for, or using this easy example for me because there are primary airlines for me for business travel and they have an award calendar where typically when you look at the workout or there are different markings for say, looking for business class fares. And it's always an accurate. You can't look at the calendar, you really have to click down into every day. And so I think that's where people end up getting frustrated or not getting the most use of their miles because they don't do the one day at a time click, click, click, click, click, click, they need to-
Spencer Howard: Because it's in their life.
Ed Pizza: Exactly. Yes. Yeah. Not orange soda and pop tarts in a dark room at night but to award the victory.
Spencer Howard: I don't need to know this about you.
Ed Pizza: inaudible But I think the simplification of it with the date sets is a big deal, but, and again, it's going to be different for everyone, for me, the single biggest reason why I like the premium service and why I'm setting up for it are the text and email alerts, because my inbox is a vast wasteland of stuff coming in and same thing with social media. I don't see all the best deals right away. And man, getting a text of what's up and coming that I need to jump on is so cute.
Spencer Howard: Yeah. I just added the texting service when I launched the premium version and it was probably the most request. I mean, not even properly, it was absolutely the most requested feature that I've been getting in the last two and a half years. So I'm really excited about that. I know a lot of people don't want to have their emails pushed to their phone. Because I mean, who wants to get inundated with work emails on the weekend? So I've added a text aspect to it so people can get a quick notification that there is something in their inbox that's worth reading, and I always like to tell people that, if you get an email from me or a text from me, I'm not wasting your time. I am not sending you random thoughts or pitches for other products. Like this is about you getting onto a plane. So I it's unfortunately I think people, they appreciate that. So they open things rather quickly.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. I think that's a great point because I never did get spammed on the original list. All I did would get deals in my inbox. How often are you finding deals right now? I mean, I know we're in a bit of a weird with the pandemic, but how often are you finding good stuff?
Spencer Howard: Yeah. I'm shooting for about six a month to the premium members and that's yeah. I always tell people I'm not going to send something just to say that I sent something and I'm also not going to hold back because like, Oh, I don't want to send more than six, like if I find something and I can get it out, I'm going to like send it to you. That's my goal. So, just do whatever I can to make sure that you have the opportunity to book some fun flights and fun trips.
Ed Pizza: All right. So let's talk a little bit about the pricing and then we'll dig into the giveaway. So, you do still have a free version available for folks, and I love that it's called the economy membership. The cabin that I travel in when all else fails. But if people are paying, let's talk about the monthly and the annual and why they should sign up for that over the free members.
Spencer Howard: For sure. So the monthly is 999 a month, while the annual is 99. For the year, it's about a 20% discount to go annual. If you're a premium member, you're getting everything at least 72 hours before the economy list. And for a lot of people who are... I know your audience is pretty well versed in booking awards but as a reminder, AwardSpace doesn't just stick around all the time. I mean, it's fitting we're talking today because I just got an email from someone who I had helped figure out an award booking to Ghana and she was like, "The AwardSpace that you were talking about, isn't there" And I was like, "Yeah. It's been a week. It's gone."
I don't know. It's just different. And sometimes with cash fares can last for months, many, many months, and sure AwardSpace can do that too, but other times not and I've definitely had award alerts that I've sent out to the newsletter that have AwardSpace has been gone within two hours. People who didn't read the email and the first two hours would email me telling me that they were so upset they didn't read the email in time. So yeah, having that 72 hour advantage I think is a big deal. So, that's like the number one thing. Also with the premium membership, I'm doing monthly video happy hour/Q&A's on Zoom with different, we'll say experts in the field, Ed, we're going to include you in that at some point this year-
Ed Pizza: Have to say, I haven't been called, so it must be expert.
Spencer Howard: We're going to get you in there. We recently had our first one with our friend Richard Curtis from the points guy. So he was kind enough to drop by.
Ed Pizza: He's a hack. inaudible.
Spencer Howard: He's a hack. Okay. I'm so glad this is rerecorded.
Ed Pizza: He was on the show last week. So I can say it was it. And he did. He ratted me out twice in the show because I had completely forgotten that Korean was no longer a chase ultimate rewards partner. And he had his finger on the red button, just waiting to jump on me and go, "Hey, inaudible partner. Like just-
Spencer Howard: What is this 2018 Ed? What do you doing?
Ed Pizza: I wouldn't trash. Well, I'm a little bit slow on the uptake, but when you talk about Ghana, I haven't been, but I worked for a company a long time ago and I won't take us too far off the path, even though I do that frequently. And I remember, I supposed to go to Ghana and back then it was crazy because I think if I remember correctly, the currency is the cedi. And at the time I have no idea what it is today, but it's a time one U.S. dollar was worth like 700 or 800 cedis. And I remember the president of our company that was going had two bricks of cedis delivered to the office. It was 40 bucks.
Spencer Howard: Bricks of money.
Ed Pizza: Yeah.
Spencer Howard: That sounds fun.
Ed Pizza: So anyway, so for folks who might not be ready to spend a hundred bucks, which I think it's a great value if you're going to travel with points and miles on a consistent basis. But one of the things that's nice about having a monthly option here is that the subscribed and test out the system and see what you're getting. Because ultimately from at least from my standpoint, if you're getting even three or four great deals a month, that's a lot of traffic to come in. And as you say about somebody who paid you a week after you publish that offer, but week it's like a lifetime in the point and mile. Well, you say like, it certainly could be alive but I had never been on it.
Spencer Howard: Yeah. It reminds me a bit of like, when you see those crazy fair deals where it's just like book now, ask questions later. It's like you got 24 hours to figure out if you can go, just book it. Yeah. Don't go do that and get in trouble with a significant other and then tell them, I told you to do that because I don't need that in my inbox.
Ed Pizza: No, no, no. They just blame me. That's easier thing to do.
Spencer Howard: Yeah. It's always as follows.
Ed Pizza: It's always as follows. It's just easier to blame me and say, well, I was listening to Ed podcast and some guy was on there but it was all Ed's fault.
Spencer Howard: Yeah. I like that. That works.
Ed Pizza: All right. So let's get to the good stuff. So, we want to encourage people to sign up. So we're going to have a little bit of a giveaway in the spirit of giving in February. So you'll see some notes in the show notes and how to sign up for this. But I'm going to be buying one annual membership for one lucky listener. And there'll be instructions on how to sign up for that in the show notes. And we'll draw that winner later this month. And so somebody's going to get the year of straight to the point award alerts for free. How's that sound?
Spencer Howard: Everybody loves free. I love it. And I think I'll match that. I will give one away as well. One I'll give away a year subscription.
Ed Pizza: I love. All right. So we're giving away two, not one, two annual membership. So two of you guys are going to get to see the insides of this for a year and figure out what you want to book. And the only thing that we're asking in return, Spencer has been asking us this mailing list for forever and I love it is like, Hey, if you book something using one of his alerts, just tell him about it. So he's got that feedback and he can use that to make the service better for the future. I stole your punchline there.
Spencer Howard: Yeah. I know. I was like, all right, fine. That's cool. Yeah.
Ed Pizza: I got a chance on my own. I don't even need you here, you can go. I can take care of that.
Spencer Howard: You can play two parts. But yeah. I mean, I think the economy or free newsletter is an excellent way to just get a taste of what things are. I know a lot of people aren't booking travel quite yet. So it's a great way to see what it is that I'm doing. It's not quite as detailed as the premium version but I think it gives you a good idea and well, I think show you why premium will be worth it.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. And like we said, we'll have notes and instructions on that in the show notes, we will not send you any spammy stuff but you will get signed up for the economy newsletter, and two of you will walk away with a year of free, Straight To The Points for premium service. So the only question left that I can think of is, do you actually have any true book right now because I know?
Spencer Howard: I have so many trips booked right now.
Ed Pizza: All right. So give us a taste of something that you have booked.
Spencer Howard: Right now. I have just want one, or do you want to hear the light quick rundown?
Ed Pizza: Oh, inaudible. The recording time is free, man. If you got a list I'm gaining. inaudible you.
Spencer Howard: All right. Cool. Let me like stretch. Get loose here.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. While you're stretching and getting loose, I just want you to know the only thing I have planned is a campground reservation for spring break for the RV. If that doesn't inaudible you, I don't know what will happen.
Spencer Howard: It's laundry travel right there.
Ed Pizza: Hey, it's not too bad. It's all right. inaudible.
Spencer Howard: No one's fighting over the bathroom. That's a step up. We've got a bunch of friends who have been RVs this past year. I say this year and last year. So a lot of people need to be on that kick. So as long as people are happy and traveling, I'm down for it.
Ed Pizza: There's a rumor that my Spring break trip, my RV will be parked next to Richard Curtis RV, which is bound to cause trouble. I guess I should bring bail money.
Spencer Howard: I look forward to you throwing things at each other from across like a space between your two homies. But yeah. So my trips I have in theory, a flight from Algiers to the U.S. I've already rebooked that once, who knows when that's happening. I have a South Africa trip that I have to rebook because that couldn't happen because a flight was canceled. I have a trip to Brazil, Lisbon and Azores separately and other trip. Yeah. And then Israel and Oman, and then Singapore, Penang and inaudible and then Amsterdam, Budapest, Munich and Stuttgart.
And that's what I have booked this year. Who knows what's going to happen.
Ed Pizza: I love all of those. Have you been to the inaudible.
Spencer Howard: I haven't. I remember thinking, Oh, the inaudible because that was the next night. This is actually something I sent out last year onto my newsletter. It was like $500 round trip business from Boston to the Azores but you could stop over in Lisbon for like however long you wanted-
Ed Pizza: Yes. Get tap deal. Didn't they?
Spencer Howard: Yes. It was a tap deal. And I mean, that was over 100 something people who booked that. So that was exciting. But yeah, so I booked one of those as well, and I just remembered you had been and how much you had enjoyed it. So I was like, well, I'm definitely booking this. So-
Ed Pizza: Yeah. I did it. I ended up doing it as a paid ticket but even with a paid ticket, it wasn't really a big add on, and I did like my own little triangle route. I did JFK to Porto. Hung out in Porto for a couple of days, but side note, there's a really good sheriff in Porto, surprisingly. And then from there, I went to the Azores, on the Azores air and then from the Azores to Lisbon was actually Ryanair. So, that was how I did my little triangle and then, and then taps from Lisbon back, but Azores was great. I still haven't written the post about the rental car that I almost wrecked by the lighthouse. So-
Spencer Howard: Oh, boy.
Ed Pizza: When you get ready to go, I'll make sure to share that story with you. So you don't wreck a rental car and have to walk up a 30 degree hill.
Spencer Howard: Yeah. That's a good pro tip for everyone going to the Azores. Don't wreck your rental car.
Ed Pizza: Cool. All right. Well, we'll have all this stuff in the show notes but before I kick you out, tell folks where they can track you down.
Spencer Howard: Yeah. Absolutely. So the website is straight to the points.co, specifically.co not.com. And then I'm, I would say most active on Instagram @straightothepoints. I try to answer all emails and direct messages. It doesn't always happen but I try to get to as many as I can. So feel free to shoot me a note if you have any questions.
Ed Pizza: I like it. And as you say, I'm on the yield premium service, once you get done with all of the experts, you may actually hear me on one of the live chats, maybe 22 or 23. We'll look forward to that.
Spencer Howard: It's going to happen if your about world warrior ways.
Ed Pizza: Cool. Well, thanks for stopping by man. I'm looking forward to having you back on again soon.
Spencer Howard: Always a pleasure. Thanks so much Ed.
Ed Pizza: We'll be right back on the Miles to Go podcast. Back to wrap up this week show with final two pennies, just a little bit of housekeeping before we head out this week. If you're interested in Brex, you'll find a link to check out the deal in the show notes, including a pretty detailed FAQ for all the ins and outs. As I mentioned, when we were talking about Brex, I'm generally only interested in a new credit card if it's going to hold a spot in my wallet long-term. I passed on Brex a couple of years ago when it really wasn't geared to small business owners. It's still won't be a perfect fit for everyone, but it's a lot more relevant now and they're enticing new customers with a heck of a sign up bonus to give it a try. Even if this gets extended past the end of the week, I don't expect that bonus to hang out forever.
So if you're thinking about Brex, you're not likely to find a better offer coming down the pike. If you're interested in the straights to the points premium giveaway, you'll also find a link to that in the show notes. Just my two sentences. I don't earn a penny if you sign up for a Spencer service, but if you're looking to learn how to book an incredible trip to Europe, Asia, Australia, with points and miles, he makes it so easy. And I really do expect there's going to be a lot of availability over the next year or so as things get back to normal, but it's not necessarily going to be easy to find. And it's certainly not going to be easy to find first, unless you put some work into it or get a little help.
I'm signing up for his premium service considering all the points that you probably earned during the pandemic that you probably haven't burned yet, you should be thinking about it as well. If you're not sure, consider dropping 10 bucks on a monthly membership and see the opportunities that you might not be aware of. That's a full wrap on this week. Show a big thanks to Tiffany and Spencer for joining me this week. Hey, if you like the show, do me a favor. Please tell a friend that helps me out a ton. If you do have questions, I love answering those. Shoot me an email, @pizzainmotion.com, or you can hit me up on social media, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, all @pizzainmotion. Until we upload again, we've got Miles to Go.
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